NFI Industries

Determining Which Racking System is Right for You

Designing a warehouse is an intricate process. Industrial engineers plan out the entire design from the amount of labor each distribution center will need to the type of equipment that will be used. The entire process of who will bring the products in, where each SKU of products will go, the racking system that will store the products and the type of equipment that’ll be used are all calculated to have a productive operation. Racking is one of the most important aspects of setting up a warehouse.

There are numerous types of racking. Whether the racking is made of roll form, tube, or structural hardware, they all serve a common purpose of storing product. The type of racking that will be used depends on the product type, dimensions, weight, and pallet size. As the goods get heavier and larger, so will the support of the racking systems.  Although there are numerous racking systems, here are a few of the most commonly used.

Single Select racking systems are commonly used standard racks within a variety of warehouses. They provide for a single row of racking within aisles. The shelving can be made up of wood, metal pallet supports, or wire decking. Operations can utilize both forklifts and reach trucks to place pallets and items on and off the racks. These types of racking systems are often permanent fixtures within a warehouse and provide enough spacing for forklifts to easily navigate through the aisles. Single Select racking can be utilized in many different operations. SKUs don’t need to be grouped since it’s easier to access all the goods across the racks.

Double Deep racking is a system where goods must be loaded a specific way onto the racks. In these arrangements, pallets or goods are placed in the back position first and the next pallet is loaded in front of the previous one. This racking system requires double reach trucks because forklifts are unable to access the back pallets and pull them forward. Double reach trucks also have different dimensions and maneuver differently than forklifts. This is something that needs to be taken into account when it comes time to evaluate the aisle size between each rack. Double Deep racking is best for those slower paced operations, for instance, regular consumer goods that aren’t perishable. Double Deep racking is good for better utilization of square footage and cube in a warehouse but you need to have multiple pallets of the same SKU’s to justify the double deep configuration.

Push-back racking can come in many sizes from two pallet-deep to six pallet-deep. These types of racking systems are equipped to place pallets onto the racking and as you place another pallet on that same horizontal, the previous pallet will automatically move back. Once you pull the front pallet from the rack, the next pallet will come forward and be ready to be picked. This racking system accomplishes this with trays that move back and forth as pallets are placed on or removed from them. This type of racking is great for faster-paced operations where products can be easily moved. For instance, perishable beverages would work well with push-back racking. Multiple pallets of the same SKU are required for this type of racking and the depth of the push-back is determined by the average number of pallets of the same SKU’s .

Drive-in racking systems allow forklifts to drive into the racking equipment to stack the pallets. In this system, the forklifts fill the racking from back to front.  Although this type of racking utilizes space well, it can be difficult to organize multiple SKUs. For instance, it can only hold one SKU in each bay since the products put in first are difficult to obtain unless the ones put in last are moved before or with them. You must have multiple pallets of the same product to justify the use of drive in racking as you would never put different SKU’s in the same row.

Stack Racks are unique in that they are more customizable than other racking systems. This type of racking can be changed to accommodate different sized items. It’s also portable with the ability to easily be stacked and stored elsewhere if there isn’t a need for the racking. These types of racks have proven to be successful when it comes to storing bulkier items like furniture.

Racking has a large role in achieving optimal productivity within a warehouse. The movement and storage of goods is an integral part of the supply chain process. Calculating your square footage requirements can help you evaluate the best type of racking for your goods.